San Francisco, CA – As the season comes to a close, the Giants can reflect on the accomplishments rather than the disappointments. Madison Bumgarner did just that by entering the 200-inning club when he shutout the Rockies 7-0.
Allowing only two hits over seven frames, Bumgarner was a gem on the mound in his final start of the season. The offense was stellar and San Francisco finished strong in the second game of the series.
“From last year and earlier this season, you’ve seen the growth of this kid,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s got presence out there. He’s got poise. He keeps coming at you.”
Though he didn’t have a great start with six loses to start the season, Madison struck out nine and walked none on 94 pitches as his record improved to 13-13. A .500 winning percentage seemed impossible when he fell 3-9 after an unforgettable start against the Minnesota Twins on June 21 when he recorded only one out while the Twins scored eight runs in the first inning.
“I wanted to get to 200 innings,” said Bumgarner. “That was a big deal for me, I wanted to do that, I think anybody wants to finish strong. It’s more important than any other game, but you just want to throw well. It’s a lot easier going into the offseason when you throw good.”
The run support from the Giants was missed in the prior months but it’s never a bad situation when you have runners scoring. Things got rolling early in the first when Colorado’s pitcher Alex White threw back-to-back wild pitches advancing Andres Torres to third. Mike Fontenot’s sacrifice fly gave San Francisco a 1-0 lead.
Brandon Belt continued the spark on offense for the second day when he hit a two-run homer to right field and splashed! It was the 60th splash of the season. The Rockies defense collapsed resulting in poor execution all over the field. Bottom of the sixth, Brandon Crawford hit a triple RBI and another wild pitch sent Crawford home on a steal to give the Giants a 5-0 lead.
“We did not pitch, and when you don’t pitch, you can’t win at this level,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “You combine that with the fact that we got three hits, maybe we’re fortunate that we only got beat 7-0.”
Colorado played like a team with no energy tonight. In their last 13 games, the only victories have been two against the Houston Astros, who own the worst record in baseball. Last year, the Rockies were in contention until the middle of September but lost 13 of their final 14.
White struggled and will have a lot to think about in the offseason. Three wild pitches giving up seven hits, two home runs, five walks and two strikeouts. While not at his best, he finished with an 8.42 ERA in six starts with Colorado, and 3-3 with a 7.01 ERA in nine starts overall.
“There are a lot of things that need to be improved, a lot of work to be done, and that’s going to start pretty quickly for me,” Alex explained. “Location, consistency with all four of my pitches, and that starts over the mound, over the rubber.
“The rotational aspect of his delivery is something that we have to address,” said Tracy. “All these type of things like the consistency and repeating his delivery. Those are all very important aspects of consistent pitching at the Major League level. You have to do that on a regular basis.”
The Rockies had only two hits, both from Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jordan Pacheco to open the second. Ty Wigginton, Wilin Rosario and Tommy Field all struck out. The next Colorado baserunner didn’t come until Bumgarner hit Chris Iannetta to lead off the sixth.
“He looks like a veteran out there,” Belt said. “He does a great job and keeps his poise. He’s awesome, that’s all you can say about him, pretty much. All we had to do was score a couple runs, and that was good enough for him.”
The Rockies committed two errors in the seventh, Conor Gillaspie hit his first career home run inside the ball park off reliever Esmil Rogers. Gillaspie scored despite tripping at third, falling flat on his face, taking a minute to catch his breath before running to home plate. The worst defense I’ve ever seen from any team as he tripped at third and the defense still could not get him out.
“Honestly, I didn’t know how it happened,” explained Conor. “I haven’t played in four weeks, it’s embarrassing but a great feeling to score. I though for sure I was going to be out.”
Bringing his career record to 17-2 when receiving three or more runs. Madison got the run support he needed. He’s lost once over his last 20 starts when supported by at least three runs. With tonight’s win, the Giants moved to 45-0 on the year when leading by three or more runs this season.
The offense sparked behind the legs of the young group, a trio of left-handed hitters Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Gillaspie. Belt slammed a two-run homer off White and splashed in the fourth inning, his first McCovey cove splash as a Giant.
“It’s just been a weird season,” Brandon said. “I’ve had a lot of days like that where I’ll feel good before the game, then I’ll get in the game and it feels like something goes wrong and I can’t figure out why. Every time I have one of these days, it’s usually because I come out here relaxed and don’t really think about anything. I just go out there and hit. It’s nice to end the season with a game like that.”
Crawford went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and an RBI triple that scored Belt in the sixth inning. Two outs later, the shortstop broke for home on a wild pitch and scored. What a spectacular game from San Francisco to finish strong for the fans, organization and themselves.
Written by: Malaika Bobino